Diabetes Awareness

Within the month of June is Diabetes Awareness Week which runs from 10th-16th June.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are three main types: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. All types involve problems with insulin, the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

In Type 1 diabetes, the blood sugar is too high because the body can’t make a hormone called insulin. 

In Type 2 diabetes is high blood sugar levels due to the body not making enough of insulin, or the body not responding to the insulin it makes — known as insulin resistance.

So let’s talk about the health checks, specifically blood tests, that one would need when managing and preventing diabetes. Blood tests are crucial for diagnosing diabetes, monitoring its progression, and managing the condition. They provide valuable insights into how well the body is managing blood sugar and can help prevent complications.

Therefore understanding the different types of blood tests for diabetes can empower one to take charge of their health, detect diabetes early, and manage it effectively. 

The Key Blood Tests for Diabetes

  1. Random Plasma Glucose Test
    • What it is: Measures blood sugar without regard to when you last ate.
    • Why it’s important: This test is often used when symptoms of diabetes are present. A level of 200 mg/dL or higher suggests diabetes.
  1. Fasting Glucose Test
    • What it is: Measures blood sugar levels after an overnight fast.
    • Why it’s important: It helps diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. 
  2. Normal Results: 3.9 to 5.4 mmols/l (70 to 99 mg/dl). 
  3. Prediabetes or Impaired Glucose Tolerance Results: 5.5 to 6.9 mmol/l (100 to 125 mg/dl). 
  4. Diagnosis of diabetes: 7.0 mmol/l (126 mg/dl) or above 
  1. Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)
    • What it is: Provides an average blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months by measuring the percentage of blood sugar attached to haemoglobin.
    • Why it’s important: It’s a crucial test for diagnosing diabetes and monitoring how well the disease is being managed. 
  2. Normal: Below 42 mmol/mol (6.0%) 
  3. Prediabetes: 42 to 47 mmol/mol (6.0 to 6.4%)
  4. Diabetes: 48 mmol/mol (6.5% or over)
  1. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
    • What it is: Measures blood sugar levels before and after drinking a sugary solution.
    • Why it’s important: This test is especially useful for diagnosing gestational diabetes. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher after 2 hours suggests diabetes.

Blood tests are a vital tool in the fight against diabetes;

Early detection through blood tests can identify individuals at risk of developing diabetes. Prediabetes can often be reversed with lifestyle changes, thus preventing the progression to Type 2 diabetes. 

And regular monitoring of blood glucose levels through blood tests helps individuals with diabetes manage their condition effectively. It allows for timely adjustments in medication, diet, and physical activity, reducing the risk of complications.

I often recommend doing diabetes blood test as part of a cardiovascular screening blood panel. A basic panel will additionally check your kidneys, liver, and cholesterol too which can cost as little as £35^.

As The Blackwell Clinic observes National Diabetes Awareness week, we urge you to take proactive steps towards managing your health and invite you to book your health check and diabetics blood tests with The Blackwell Clinic.

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